Russia decided not to grant Ukraine $5 billion loan, Deputy Finance Minister Dmitry Pankin told Reuters in an interview on Wednesday. But in an unexplained sign of mixed messages being sent by Moscow, Pankin told Russia’s Interfax news agency the very same day that a decision had not yet been made. He said the issue is still being “reviewed", Kyiv Post reported. 

As ForUm reported earlier, Yulia Tymoshenko asked Russia to grant $5 billion loan in February to help its economy withstand the economic downturn and help pay for Russian gas.

"They proposed to borrow and the decision to offer such a loan was not made ... We analysed the situation and we said no," Pankin told Reuters speaking in English.

But hours later, Russia’s Interfax agency quoted Pankin saying: “Ukraine turned to us in February 2009 asking for a loan. The issue is being reviewed. At the current moment, the loan has not been issued.”

“Discussions on joint actions between the finance ministries of Russia and Ukraine are continuing,” Pankin told Interfax.

Battered by recession, Ukraine is desperate for cash to fill a budget shortfall and help pay for vast amounts of natural gas supplies which are traditionally pumped into underground storage in summer periods, and used to fill peak demand in winter periods.

But the prospects of a loan from Russia, and possible tough strings attached, is a touchy subject in Ukraine.


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